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AGs target off-label drug promotion

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has joined AGs from four other states (Louisiana, Florida, Alaska, West Virginia) to sue Eli Lilly & Co. over its much-prescribed psychiatric drug Zyprexa. The AGs' theory -- or so it sounds like, at least, from this report and this one -- is that it was a fraud on Medicaid for Lilly to promote the compound for off-label uses whether or not it did in fact work to patients' benefit in some of those uses. Our sister site Medical Progress Today has run numerous items on off-label prescribing and its very real potential to bring medical benefits to patients; see, for example, this item (many doctors consider Zyprexa promising against intractable anorexia) and this one (statins).

P.S.: Reader Skip Oliva (Voluntary Trade Council) writes in to say, "There was an FTC case not too long ago where the Commission imposed conditions on a pharmaceutical merger *because* of the 'off label' use of a product. In other words, the merger wouldn't reduce competition for the product's on-label purpose, but it would harm competition for an off-label use. The implication is that the FTC saw no problem with off-label uses."



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.